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Here’s another full unit for Kindergarten, this one on the Rain Forest


Social Studies  



Title – Kindergarten Rain Forest Unit
By – Tricia Bardillo
Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – Kindergarten

Kindergarten Rainforest Unit

There are several pages that give background information that is very useful.  The more you learn about the rainforest, the more you will want to learn and teach to your students.  The first page talks about setting up the environment. This is probably the best way to get the children excited about learning, and it really sets the mood for the whole unit.  There are 3 weeks worth of rainforest/jungle here – I think you will still have a hard time finishing it in that amount of time as well, but we’ll go for it!ÂÂ

In the getting started file, there is a jungle journal cover – just add enough blank paper for three weeks and each child will have a great journal to take home when they are finished.

Day 1

4 Layers of the Rainforest

Start by making a KWL chart using a piece of poster board sectioned off:  What we know about the Rainforest, What we want to learn about the Rainforest, and What we learned about the Rainforest.

Have the children brainstorm what they already know about the rainforest.  Even if they say something incorrect, write it down – you can always correct if after they learn more.ÂÂ

Then sing the “Layers of the Rainforest” song:

Tune:  “If you’re happy and you know it”

There are four layers in the rainforest.


There are four layers in the rainforest.


Forest floor, understory, canopy, emergent.

(as you sing the names of the layers first crouch down, then stand up and bend over a bit, then stand and put your arms over your head like an umbrella, then stand on toes and reach up high)

There are four layers in the rainforest.


This song will be sung several times a day for the next 3 weeks, so have them practice a few times.  The names of the rainforest layers are new to the children, so really have them practice pronouncing each word.  By the end of the lesson, each child should know the layers.

After they know the song, read Helen Cowcher’s book “Rainforest” .

Read, discuss, ask questions about the book.

The activity for the day is the Layers of the Rainforest layered book.  They color each layer and cut out – then the teacher helps make sure they put them in the proper order ( I usually tape them, but they can glue)

Day 2

Kapok Tree

Start by reviewing the four layers of the rainforest. Sing the  4 layers song a few times.  I usually offer some kind of reward for students who can say the 4 layers by themselves.  They all know them by the 2 nd or 3 rd day.ÂÂ

Read “The Great Kapok Tree”

Have the children pay close attention to the size of the tree, how long it takes to grow that large, all the animals that depend on it,etc.  Ask questions about the book, discuss.


Have each child make their own great kapok tree with construction paper.  Hang the trees up on the rainforest wall.  Encourage the children to add details such as vines hanging down off the tree or a bird or other animal hiding in its branches, etc.

Day 3

Flowers and Leaves

Sing 4 layers song.  Show many pictures of different flowers and plants of the rainforest.  Read “Rainforest” and “The Great Kapok Tree” – these books show lots of flowers and plants.

Discuss the importance of trees and plants giving us oxygen.  Teach the definition of oxygen (the air we breathe).  Start talking about the more trees and plants we have, the more oxygen we have and when they cut down the rainforest, we have less oxygen.  This will get them thinking about the importance of saving the rainforest and not being wasteful.  Talk about how much of the world is covered by rainforest, etc.

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies



Have each child create flowers and leaves for the rainforest wall using construction paper.  Stress creativity.  If they can imagine it, there is probably a flower that looks like that in the rainforest! ÂÂ

Day 4


Sing 4 Layers song. Review what they have learned so far.  Read “Welcome to the Green House” by Jane Yolen.  When you finish, point out the picture of the sloth.  Some facts about sloths are included here.  Teach them some facts.


Have each child make a sloth.  There is an original enclosed – run on brown construction paper or have them color.  Hang their sloths from the vines in the room and on the rainforest wall.

They really like this animal because it is quite ugly and VERY slow!ÂÂ

Day 5

Spider Monkey

Sing the 4 layers song.  Talk about the different layers, and have the children talk about what layer they think monkeys spend the majority of their time in (understory and canopy mostly because of all the vines).

Read one of the rainforest books we have read so far – they all have monkeys in them.  Also, “Nature’s Green Umbrells” by Gail Gibbons has some good info and pictures about monkeys of the rainforest.  I also have a funny monkey poem in a big book you can use.  Just let me know when you need it. A spider monkey is different from other monkey’s they know because they have such long legs.


Have each child make a spider monkey from brown construction paper, and hang them from the vines and on the rainforest wall.

Day 6


Sing the 4 layers song.  Talk about where the frogs of the rainforest live.  Explain that many of the frogs of the rainforest are as small as  a quarter, and there are many dangerous poisonous frogs.  Rainforest natives rub the tips of their arrows on the skin of the poison arrow frog and others to make their weapon deadly!  Concentrate on the red-eyed tree frog.  Show pictures.  Read “Flashy Fantastic Rain Forest Frogs”.  I think Mrs. Duwe has some others also.


Run the enclosed frog on green paper or let them color their own.  Have each child color, cut out their frog – looking at pictures of real frogs of the rainforest to add good details.  Hang the frogs on the rainforest wall.

Day 7

Boa Snakes

Sing the 4 Layers song.  Review animals we have learned so far.  Say “boa chant” several times.  Talk about the difference between a boa and other snakes (some inject poison and boas squeeze)  Read “Hide and Snake” by Keith Baker.  Show pictures of a variety of boas from other books.ÂÂ


Give each child a piece of construction paper and a pair of scissors. Have them round the corners of their paper so it is an oval.  Teach them how to cut around the edge without stopping so they can make 1 snake out of their paper.  Hang from vines and on rainforest wall.ÂÂ

Day 8

Birds- especially Toucans

Sing 4 Layers song. Read “Rainforest” and look through “Nature’s Green Umbrella”.  Talk about which layers of the rainforest birds hang out in. Show pictures. Talk about what they eat, how loud they are, etc.


Have each child color and cut out the toucan.  Pattern is included.  Hang from vines and on rainforest wall.

Eat fruit loops!

Day 9

Birds – especially Macaws

Sing 4 layers song.  Read “A Walk in the Rainforest” by Kristin Joy Pratt.  Pay special attention to the various types of birds and macaws (the very brightest parrots).  Show pictures.ÂÂ


Have each child color a macaw to take home.  If you have time, have each child make their own macaw with construction paper to add to your class rainforest.ÂÂ

Writing activity:

Have each child write this sentence prompt:  In the rainforest, I saw_________.  Then have them illustrate what animal they saw in the rainforest and write the name of the animal themselves.  Let them use inventive spelling to write the name of the rainforest animal.  They can do it !

Day 10

Blue Morpho Butterfly

Sing 4 layers song.  Read “Rainforest” – it has Morpho butterflies in it.  Discuss the book and how much you have learned about the rainforest.ÂÂ


Ahead of time, make some patterns like the ½ a butterfly I included.  Have each child fold a black sheet of construction paper in half.  Have them place the ½ butterfly on the fold and trace around it.  Then cut out the butterfly and open up.  Then have each child use blue construction paper and tear small pieces and glue on the butterfly.  (This takes a while if they do it right!  That’s o.k. – let them work on it during centers if necessary.)  They look great when they are finished.  Add to your rainforest!

Day 11


Sing 4 Layers song.  Read “A Day in the Jungle”  Talk about gorillas – what do the children think of them?  Are they nice, mean, etc?ÂÂ


Read and sing the poem “Little Black Gorilla” – included. Ahead of time, run the picture of the banana tree and gorillas on card stock, and attach string  – I’ll put an example in the hall.  Have each child color the tree and gorilla, then you attach the gorilla to the string.  Sing the gorilla song as a large group!

Day 12

Jaguars and Tigers

Sing 4 layers song.  Explain a bit about jaguars are the king of the rainforest, but that tigers also live in some, but more in less dense areas.  Read “The Great Kapok Tree” and “Who is the Beast”  Ask questions on “Who is the Beast”.  There are some other ideas to do with the book included.


Have each child create a jaguar with construction paper to add to your rainforest.  If you have time, you can also have each child cut out a tiger and then marble paint it.ÂÂ

Day 13

Food from the Rainforest

Sing 4 layers song.  Talk about the foods we get from the rainforest. Look over the book “Life in the Rainforest”.


Cook a treat with “rain forest” food, or just bring a variety and have the children name them, smell them, and graph their favorite.

Day 14

Review Animals/Safari

Sing 4 layers song.  Review the different animals we have learned about: spider monkey, howler monkey, morpho butterfly, jaguar, tiger, gorilla, toucan, macaw, sloth, boa, frogs, etc.  Read any of their favorite rainforest books.


Have each child draw a picture of their favorite rainforest animal.  Have them write the name of it.  Make a class graph.  Also classify the animals based on where they live in the rainforest or how they get around in the rainforest, etc.

Make a safari hat and binoculars out of toilet paper rolls.  Listen to rainforest music and pretend to be on a safari through the jungle. Talk about what you see in your classroom rainforest.

Day 15

Wrap up and KWL

Sing 4 layers song.  Introduce the word EXTINCT. Read “Where the Forest Meets the Sea”  and “For the Love of our Earth”.   Explain about the increasing rate at which animals of the rainforest are disappearing .  For the rest of the day – every hour take down all of 1 kind of animal so they can visually comprehend extinct.  Get out your KWL chart and finish the last column – “What we learned”  Have them check “what we know” and using what they now know, check for accuracy.  Write a class letter to the President asking him to pass legislation to save the rainforest.ÂÂ

E-Mail Tricia !

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